Melissa McClone: Writer Turned Cowgirl

I’ve been having a fabulous time in Morocco and enjoying some good times with Surfer Ty.  It’s been a glorious few days here.  I should try to find a way to do it more often!  The sun is bright and shining, the Souqs are full of vivid colors and tastes and the people are just amazing!

I’ve also spent some time by the pool and actually just finished reading Melissa McClone‘s Kiss Me, Cowboy.  I’m such a fan of Melissa’s.  Not only is she a wonderfully talented author but she’s also a warm, wonderful person to know and this week, she’s a guest on my blog!  Here’s Melissa McClone to share her thoughts on being a cowgirl!


Thanks for having me on the blog today, Jane! My dad grew up on a sheep ranch in Colorado and a couple cousins competed in rodeos so writing Kiss Me, Cowboy brought back many memories, including more recent ones of watching rodeo events at our county fair!



It’s been a long time since I’d been on horseback other than trail rides on vacation, so I decided to do a little hands-on research at a working cattle ranch in southeastern Oregon. I spent three nights up at their cow camp where the herd grazes during the summer months.

My favorite part of being a cowgirl—next to wearing my first pair of Ariat cowboy boots—was herding cattle. I rode a horse named Lil’ Britches. Out in the canyon on horseback, the breeze rustling through the quaking Aspen, I could easily imagine my wranglers from Kiss Me, Cowboy, Charlie (Charlotte) Randall on her horse Sierra and Zack Harris on Blackbeard, riding with me!



Our cattle herding experience was actually a surprise. We’d headed out to drop off mineral (i.e. 50 pound salt blocks) to the herd, but on our way down the canyon to where they pastured, we started picking up small groups until we had a herd that had to be pushed along. (We later discovered a hole in the fencing that they were using to get back into this part of the ranch.) The cattle didn’t want to move, so they kept looking back to see if you were still there!

We would break off into pairs (i.e. teams) to keep cattle from wandering off, and more than once, one or more of us had to ride into the trees to keep a mama cow and her calf from crossing the creek and setting off yet another chase. I saw how a cowboy’s chores led to rodeo events.

A cowboy’s work is hard and dangerous. I learned a lot, but next time I’m heading to a dude ranch like the Bar V5 that I write about in my Montana Born Books, a guest ranch with mouthwatering gourmet food and spa services. Not to mention hot wranglers named Zack, Ty, Dustin and Eli!


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Melissa!  I think I’ll tag along with you to that dude ranch next time.  🙂

Readers, do download a copy of Kiss Me, Cowboy if you didn’t already.  You’re going to love it!  And to help Melissa celebrate her new release, here’s a special prize just for you!  For a chance to win, leave a comment to welcome Melissa to my blog, tell me if you’ve ever been to a cattle ranch or just tell us about your week!  Winner will be announced on Friday.



  1. Nice to “see” you here, Melissa! Caught you in a couple of other places and am glad you’re “here” with Jane too!
    Never been to a cattle ranch, per se. I’ve been to farms with a few cattle, but that’s it.
    My week? Freakin’ awesome. I lost another pound!

    1. Hi Laney! Good to see you here, too! Congrats on losing a pound! That is cause for celebration! I just started eating healthy (i.e. my term for diet) yesterday. So far so good! Good luck with the continued weight loss!

  2. I wouldn’t call them ranches, but there are a lot of farmers around here that have lots of cows. We call them farms. 🙂
    Melissa I have enjoyed your writing from way back. i seem to remember a mermaid series you did years ago that I liked. I have always liked fairy tales and magical stories.

    1. Hi Gigi! I’ve wondered what differentiates a ranch from a farm! The mermaid book was In Deep Waters… I loved that book. They digitized the entire series a year or two ago. Funny small world story, but Lilian Darcy who writes for Montana Born Books did the fourth book in the Tale of the Sea continuity! Now here were are in Marietta together again 🙂

    1. Jessica,

      Hi! I really knew nothing about cattle until my trip. I always thought of cattle ranches as smelly due to the dairy farms near us. But with so much land they aren’t at all. You can ride for a while without seeing cattle then suddenly there’s a whole bunch! Kinda neat!

  3. Thank you for sharing your blog with other writers! I love horse back riding and going on a trail ride/cattle drive is on my bucket list. Look
    Forward to reading her book! As always thank you for your generosity!

    1. Laurie,

      It’s a good thing to have on your bucket list. Just make sure the place you go has a good reputation and safety record. Easy to get hurt out there. Very desolate and isolated, at least where we were! And Jane is the best. She’s so generous with her time, her blog and giveaways. Just love her and writing for Montana Born Books (and Holiday Books, too!)

    1. Hi Kristy!

      I recognize your name from doing the giveaways. I like to make sure I read all the entries so I go through them one by one to make my list for the randomizer. You get to know certain names, then see them on the page. Great to find you here, too!

  4. Happy Anniversary Jane to you and Ty!

    I enjoyed reading Kiss Me Cowboy and enjoyed hearing about Melissa’s adventures at the ranch. The closest I have ever been to a cattle ranch was on the road outside the fence just looking in. When I would get down, my husband used to drive me by there and we would just sit and watch. It always put me in a better mood. But, he doesn’t do that anymore.

      1. There are still a few ranches left. the sad thing is the owners are slowly selling off their land. I noticed a couple weeks ago one more housing development going in where it used to be the farmer’s land for crops.

  5. Yes I’ve been on a cattle ranch, horse ranch, and even several farms. It’s amazing to watch the work that goes on there. It’s a whole new breed of people. They’re known as cowboys and cowgirls. Also just wanted to say Glad you had a great time on your honeymoon. And as always thanks for the great giveaways. B

    1. Barbara,

      Great to see you here, too! Lots of familiar names from Facebook! Sounds like you’ve done lots more than me with ranches! Doesn’t Jane and Ty’s honeymoon look so romantic. In my dreams…

      1. Omg yes. I would give my right arm to be able to go on a trip like they did for their anniversary. But I’m like you, the day that happens is the day my dreams come true. Would be great though. I’m glad to know you have a few books coming out. I’m out of one’s to read, so I’m looking forward to reading yours. Take care Melissa. B

  6. Welcome, Melissa! I am envious. I would love to try out a cattle ranch…As I have grown up, I keep wanting a farm and ranch…

    1. Thanks Kerry! I can’t wait to take the kids to a dude ranch. A friend of mine just recommended one in WA state, where I live so I am going to check it ou.

      I really loved the horse part of the ranch visit. My husband keeps talking about having land somewhere (he likes Montana, LOL) but the reality is a lot of work. I know this from my dad’s side of the family. My husband travels much of the time which means the chores would fall to me. I’ll be honest, a few days of this I survived. Not sure I’d want this to be my day in and day out routine. Maybe once the kids are out of the house and I have more time! Now that’s a plan 🙂

  7. Welcome, Melissa! I haven’t been to a cattle ranch, but I have been around cows and horses. I’ve ridden a few times but never really took to it–hard on my knees. I do love looking at cows and horses when I am near them.

    1. Bonnie,

      I hear you on the hard on knees. I was limping around Colorado last week and my friend loaned me her knee brace. I’ve learned riding in moderation is fun. More than four hours at a time, not so much 🙂

  8. Welcome Melissa! I’ve never been to a cattle ranch but my first teaching job was in farming country. I read Kiss Me, Cowboy and loved it!! Can’t wait to read more of your books.

    1. Thanks, Elaina!

      I really loved the horseback riding! Not enough to get one, but I’d love to go again 😉 And thanks for your sweet words about my books! You all are keeping a big smile on my face!

  9. Welcome Melissa! I have never been to a cattle ranch or any ranch for that matter. I have always wanted to though. Love your books. Congrats on the new release!

    1. Thanks so much, Morgan! The smile keeps getting bigger reading these comments.

      I would have never called myself a city girl, but after heading to cow camp I’m not quite as country as I thought. I’m used to camping and roughing it so that part wasn’t bad, but it’s just such a different way of life. Things that terrified me (riding up a cliff) didn’t even faze the cow-folks. Guess it’s just what we’re used to!

  10. As a teen I always fantasized about going to a ranch and learning to ride, being around cowboys. I’ve not rode a horse in over 40 years. But the freedom is amazing.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      You’re spot on. The freedom on a horse was amazing. I’d stop to realize how far we’d gone and just shake my head.

      And the horses were incredible. Many were part mustang or full, so not that tall, but they were such hard workers. There were trails we rode that I could not have made on foot. Not sure how the horses did it!

  11. A big welcome to you Melissa..have not read any of your books ~ yet. The closest I’ve been to a cattle farm is the local dairy growing up Venice, California. My sister and I would go ‘exploring’ and everyday we’d go watch them milking cows. Many times the men would let us ‘help’ the milking and that was really fun. And, we would also climb the huge haystack and get lost in our thoughts ~ those wonderful childhood memories are always with me along with the simplicity of life in those days.

  12. Welcome, Melissa!

    And happy anniversary, Jane. It looks like you are having a great time on your trip.

    This week I am home alone with my teenage son… we are having a blast (lol – not so much). Who knew that teen boys are moody and uncommunicative? lol

    I am heading to the hardware store this morning to get some paint samples. It is time to re-paint my daughter’s room (she’s away at college) and do some rearranging. That will keep me busy the rest of the week!

  13. Hi Melissa, and thanks Jane for this feature article!

    I’ve never been to a cattle ranch, there are farmers in my family but they are grain farmers, not quite the same thing! I’ve also never ridden a horse, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

    1. Hi Christine Maria Rose. Such a pretty name! Highly recommend trying horseback riding. And you don’t have to go to a ranch to do it! I spent a week on a wheat farm near Palouse WA when I was going into high school. It was a fun though my friend’s grandmother made us work!!!

  14. Nice to see you here Melissa. I have never been on a cattle ranch, the only time I was around any cows was when I was a child we bottle feed a few baby cows to raise up for beef. That was not and easy thing to do. I can’t wait to read your new book. Thanks for sharing it with us today.

  15. Welcome Melissa. I’ve been reading so much about your books and look forward to reading one. I’ve not been on a cattle ranch, but my uncle had a dairy and I got to watch (and even help a couple of times) bringing in the cows, feeding and milking them. It was really interesting when he switched to the machines to do the milking instead of the old fashion method.

  16. Hi Melissa!! I grew up riding horses and still have a love for them. I haven’t ridden lately because I developed an allergy to horses and cattle. I miss it! I’ve never been to a cattle ranch, but grew up with a few cows, horses, pigs goats and chickens.

  17. My ex and his family had a 30 stall horse barn while we were married. We lived there it wasn’t as romantic as people think. Stressful yes. The horses were beautiful and all but they
    Didn’t know they’re own strength. Ended up being stepped on and having the bones in the top of foot broken! I’d do it all over because they were beautiful animals . And it wasn’t they’re fault.

    1. Diana,

      Hugs on being injured. But you nailed it. Horses are big and beautiful, but very strong. You can find yourself in a dangerous position before you know it. Not quite as romantic as we make it out to be in our books! Hope your foot healed totally.

  18. I would love to do the dude ranch experience. I have only ever once been on a horse (8 months old being held by my 2nd cousin doesn’t count in my book). The entire experience intrigues me. And I wouldn’t mind seeing my man in a cowboy hat.

    1. Hey Christina! Great to see you here, too!

      I can’t remember where you live, but many states, even ones you wouldn’t think, have dude ranches you can go to. My friend took her kids (preschoolers) and they all had a blast! My three want to go too!

  19. Welcome!!!! Thank you for sharing about a cattle ranch! I’ve been to several, growing up in Texas. I’ve had a busy week, spent bustling around the VA hospital with my mom and Dad. :-/ he’s there with multiple issues, anyway, we had a tiny bit of improvement so that’s a blessing! Hope you have a wonderful afternoon! Look forward to reading more on this blog!

  20. Never been. But back in the 1960’s, our family visited the Yellowstone area and did a trail ride! Boy, that was exciting for a pre-teen!! It ended with a cookout with a chuck wagon!

  21. I look forward to reading your book. I’ve been to a Longhorn ranch but never herded. I did run like crazy many times chased by idiot steers that thought it was feeding time when we kids would head through our pasture heading for the fishing pond or down to go creeking.. lol

  22. Never been to a large cattle ranch but we have small ones around here, though it’s mainly farming that’s in this area. One place we lived their cows were in the pasture by the road and I swear at least every spring myself or one of my boys would have to help a calf back in through the fence. This always meant for me I had to conquer my fears, since cows kind of intimidate me, but a bawling calf always managed to convince his need was more important than my fear. Calves are kinda cute

  23. Love Melissa 🙂
    The only experience I remember with horseback riding was when I was about 16. I hired a horse from a local stable for an hour, I was riding down main street when some idiot popped his head out of one the stores and shouted “Hi Ho Silver” and that horse just galloped off down the street with me on it. Luckily I was able to slow it down 🙂

      1. LOL! I am so in love with my boots, Sarita!!!!! Boot Barn is the best. They had ones with red in them and that’s my fave color. I wear them around the house, just because.

  24. Hi Melissa!!! Welcome :throws glitter in the air: I have never been to a cattle ranch! i am your typical city girl from Brooklyn NY but i would love to visit one one day!

  25. I haven’t been to a cattle/dude ranch. It’s on our bucket list & dream vaca list. My hubby & I did some price checking, & it’s just too costly. We have 3 kids, 2 of them are adults, & we still hope we can all go one day. 🙂

    1. Hi Maria! My kids want to go, too, so I’ve been looking at the weeks when it’s a little cheaper. I’ve also found that prices vary a lot. At least in Washington where I live! Hope you make it to one soon!

  26. I haven’t been to a carte ranch – I breed alpacas in my spare time instead. They’re much easier to herd. I just walk to the gate I want them to go through, open it, sing out “come on, girls!” and they run straight through for me.

    1. Shelagh,

      Alpacas are so sweet! Love how the come when called. When we moved to Oregon that’s what I wanted to do…have an alpaca ranch. This was in the days I had no kids or hadn’t sold any books. But I read an article on the flight to Portland and was looking for info as soon as I could get online. How great that you do that!

  27. Melissa, thank you for an interesting article. I’ve never been to a cattle ranch and doubt if I ever will so I lived vicariously.

    1. Hi Jean! I didn’t now there was a minimum acreage requirement for a ranch. Learn something new every day! Between your cattle and your uncle’s horses I bet you got your fill of farm animals!

  28. Hi Melissa! I loved Kiss Me Cowboy. I can’t wait to read more of your books.
    I’ve always wanted to visit a dude ranch. Look alike so much fun.

  29. I have never been to a ranch but would love to go would be so fun. My week has been pretty uneventful. Still have good and bad days since the passing of my oldest brother last month. Thinks are slowly getting back to a semblance of normal

  30. Today we went and had the buffet at KFC then road up a canyon to see the fall colors, we saw a 2 point buck and sit and watched the river it was a nice little outing.

  31. I would love to go to a “cattle” ranch/”dude” ranch. I think it would be so much fun and very interesting. My week has been filled with “fighting” with insurance companies to get my middle son the medicine he needs for his seizure disorder…ugh.

  32. My family always vacationed at a sort of dude ranch.
    We were able to horseback ride several times a day. Wonderful memories for my sister and I. Every year we had crushes on the stable boys. Too much fun. But never a cattle ranch.

  33. Hi Melissa! My boyfriends family owns a cattle ranch in Ekalaka MT. It was a fun experience to see how all the ranchers in the community still help each other out at branding time. I really love it there

  34. I would LOVE to go to a dude ranch and learn how to be a cowgirl! It would help me get over the slight phobia I have about horses. I was thrown off one when I was young-her name was Buttercup. Nice, huh? lol

  35. I have never been to a ranch, but my family raised beef cattle on a 160 acre farm. I love the books from both of you and am especially enjoying all the ones set in Marietta!!

  36. Hi Melissa, welcome to Jane’s blog. I look foward to reading your books. I would love to go to a ranch someday… maybe one with a couple of stud-muffins on it.

  37. Congrats on your new release, Melissa! Honestly, you are a new for me author. Maybe this will be my chance to start reading your book?

  38. They’re all called farms in Australia – whether they’re sheep, pigs, dairy or beef cattle – and I’ve been to them all. Now in the US, I’ve been on a farm where they raise Llama’s.

  39. Welcome Melissa! Love your books 🙂 I’ve never been ON a ranch, but passed many in my travels to the west. It would be a hard, but rewarding, life I’m sure.

    1. Hi catslady! Now you’re talking. A cat farm is right up my alley. My hubby already thinks we have a cat house. (I foster for a local rescue and seem to be where cats with no homes end up!)

  40. I’ve never been to a cattle ranch, a farm, but not a ranch. My week has been pretty good. I am glad the weekend is coming up though.

  41. Hi Melissa, I loved reading your blog! I’ve never been on a cattle ranch, just my maternal grandparents farm in Mississippi. When I was much younger, one oft favorite shows was Bonanza! I would fantasize about going to visit Pa, Little Joe, Adam and Hoss Cartwright on The Pondarosa Ranch!y twin sister Nd I would open up cans of beans and eat them out of the metal pie pans! It was silly I know, but we were just acting out our on part of the show!

    1. Hi Merle. So happy you enjoyed the blog post! I remember Bonanza. I was little but my dad loved to watch it. That is so cute about eating the beans on metal pie plates. I love it! Very cool you got into the show so much 🙂

  42. Hi Melissa, I have never been on a cattle ranch. I have read your book and Loved it. The whole rodeo series have been so much fun. Thanks!

  43. I´m reading Kiss Me Cowboy right now and loving it. It´s a great story. I´m loving this new series from Marietta.
    Haven´t been to a cattle ranch but my week is pretty busy, or it was supposed to be. Showing up to all my appointments, but everybody forgets to tell me that they have cancelled. Funny week for me.
    Happy talk like a pirate day 🙂
    And love your girls books by the way. You rock 🙂

    1. Hi Elisabeth. So glad you are enjoying it. Still blows me away when I hear someone is reading a book of mine right now. Silly, but the truth. Very happy you like the series. It all came together very nicely and the beautiful covers were just the icing on the cake 🙂

  44. Hi Melissa!!!! So Im pretty sure I was born in the wrong city!!! LoL!! I always had a love for horses and anything country and of coarse anything that involves a cowboy, but I have never been close to any of these things!!! =( Its on my bucket list to take a vacation to a ranch someday! (Where I will hopefully fall in love with a cowboy!) Im such a romantic! HaHa! <3

    1. Hi Elizabeth. Nice to see you here! Love your post. You are a romantic! I hope you make it to a ranch and find a hot cowboy to love!!! I wrote about a heroine like you a long, long time ago. She was a city girl, a rich girl, too. She was fascinated by cowboys. Of course, the hero was a prince, but she preferred a cowboy. LOL!

  45. Hey,
    Welcome Melissa. No I haven’t been to an actual ranch but I love living and being in the country. I love Country style houses and I love the country life. We did have horses here but it’s was not a good experience it’s a long and bad story about betrayal by family members.

  46. Thank you, everyone for helping to make Melissa McClone so welcome. I love how supportive you are of my author friends just as much as I love giving away great prizes and our winner this time is –

    #33 Deb McCunney

    Deb, drop me an email with your mailing info and I’ll get the package in the mail!

    I’m on the last leg of my trip now and looking forward to getting back home to see my boys next week.

    Hope you all have great weekend! 🙂


    1. Hi Robyn! You’ve experience both farm and cattle. Cool! And rodeos, too! Another one we need to add to our research list.

      When we were driving home from our trip we stopped for breakfast in the nearest town (very small.) There were signs up for the upcoming rodeo. A very big deal! Love how it’s such a community event!

  47. Welcome Melissa and best of luck with your writing. I grew up in a big city, but visited my grandparent’s farm/ranch almost every weekend. A fun place for a kid like me with a vivid imagination. I so enjoyed the cattle dogs and the house cats and standing on the wide front porch singing into the wind. I think the smell of hay is great, fresh mowed and in rows ready to be put into bales.

    Jane, hope you and Ty keep on having fun!

  48. Hi Melissa! So glad you’re here on Jane’s Blog! I’ve just been reading some of your books…Copper Mtn Christmas series, Mistletoe Magic, The Man Behind the Pinstripes and Date with the Millionaire. Haven’t gotten Kiss Me Cowboy…but I’m on it!

  49. I loved the book, Melissa. Cattle drives are a blast. I went on a cattle-drive fundraiser with a girlfriend and our horses a few years back. We camped out near the Warm Springs Indian Reservation and herded cattle on horseback for two days. I carried a pistol because it was rattlesnake country. Luckily, I didn’t have to use it.

    Danita Cahill

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